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tv   Newsline  PBS  September 3, 2014 12:00am-12:31am PDT

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welcome to "newsline." it's wednesday september 3rd. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. the prime minister of japan is trying to inject new energy into his administration as focuses on political challenges both at home and abroad. shinzo abe is reshuffling his cabinet is expected to unveil the line-up later in the day. it will include at least ten new minister answer more women. it's a key post and responsibilities include managing funds and handling
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elections from local to national. tanigaki is replacing ishiba who wanted to stay in the post. he helped build consensus to enable japan to exercise its right to collective self-defense. ishiba is expected to take on a new cabinet portfolio dedicated to regional revitalization. the job of reconstruction minister will likely go to ataru takeshi da. he's the younger brother of late prime minister noburu takes hid an. abe's planning to yung yuk yuko obuchi into the cabinet, too, she is the daughter of former prime minister kaez kaezo obuhi.
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the next internal affairs and communications affairs minister worked as the ldp policy chief to coordinate opinions within the party on key policies including raising the consumption tax. shiozaki is the new wealth minister and served as chief cabinet secretary as abe's first term in office in 2006 to 2007. the science and technology policy minister is expected to be shuichi yamaguchi. he worked as senior vice minister for internal affairs and as senior vice minister for finance. abe's planning on making akinori eto his new defense minister, expected to serve in charge of minister in security legislation, working on revisions related to collective self-defense. the next agricultural forest and fisheries minister will likely be nishikawa. the abductions issue minister
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has expected to be yamatani. she's been actively working to bring home japanese nationals who were abducted by north korean agents in the 1970s and '80s. she's been the chair of the ldp's policy board in the upper house. ministers will tender their resignations at a meeting later in the day. the chief cabinet secretary will announce the reshuffled line-up after that. he was given a chance to leave the country after his democratic party's vikt are i in the lower house election in 2012. he took up a laundry list of pressing measures. misuo kijima looks back. >> reporter: shinzo abe was a familiar face when he lead his liberal democrats to victory in the last lower house election
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but he came with fresh ideas about how to write japan's finances. >> translator: let's do the best we can to revive the economy. >> reporter: abenomics designed to end tax deflation that's hung on for decades. abe only has six months to convince voters. he and other members of his ruling coalition swept to victory again in the election for the upper house. >> translator: voters want us to create political stability and push ahead with our economic policies, and i accept that responsibility. >> reporter: with control of both houses, abe was free to push forward his domestic agenda.
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he faced other challenges with his foreign policy. exactly a year after taking office, abe made a surprise visit to yasukuni shrine which honors japan's war dead. >> translator: i think it say common attitude for world leaders to pray and pay respects for those who dedicated their lives to their countries. >> reporter: chinese and south korean leaders have criticized their japanese counterparts for visiting the shrine. they are angry those remembered include military and political leaders, convicted of war crimes after world war ii. abe's visit triggered protests from both countries and to this day, he has not held summit talks with either the chinese for the south korean leader. abe had plans to change course on defense policy. he said the security situation surrounding japan was becoming increasingly intense.
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in july, his cabinet approved a change in the way previous administrations have interpreted the constitution. that includes enabling the country to exercise its right to collective self-defense. under certain conditions, japan will be able to defend a closely-related country under an armed attack. >> translator: the self-defense forces will defense u.s. fleets to protect the lives of japanese. the cabinet decision will allow that to happen. >> reporter: abe saw the support rate for his cabinet drop below 50% for the first time since he took office. the latest nhk survey suggests the numbers have bounced back to 51%.
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still, 33% of respondents disapprove of the job the cabinet is doing. abe has seen the same faces around that table since he returned to the prime minister's office. he may be hoping by changing some of them, his support will bounce back. mitch michio kijima, world world, tock yo. tokyo. there are a number of reasons behind abe's decision to shake up his cabinet. nhk world's mayaka umbe was here earlier to help us understand why now. >> prime minister abe says the current cabinet lineup has helped achieve results. he wants to renew his team to launch the second chapter of his administration. abe is facing a number of challenges. he says he wants to work on
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national security and regional revitalization. so he's creating new cabinet positions. on top of that, there's a unified local election next spring. this is an opportunity for abe's liberal democratic party to expand its influence. the reshuffle is also a way for the prime minister to foster party unity. it gives other ldp members a chance to enter the cabinet and helps abe maintain broad support. that support will come in handy next fall during the leadership election. abe needs to stay in charge of the party in he wants to keep his job as prime minister. >> mayuko, this is the first reshuffle since abe launched his government in 2012. how will this reshuffle play out? >> abe made it clear he was going to keep some ministers in their positions. for example tarot aso will stay on as finance minister. the economic revitalization minister will keep his job. abe spent more time figuring out
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what to do with ldp secretary-general ishiba. he was abe's biggest rival a couple of years ago during the last ldp leadership race. the secretary-general is the backbone of the party. and ishiba is an influential politician. he wanted to stay on, but abe wanted to replace him. abe is offering a cabinet post and ishiba is taking it. january pies voters are also interested in the new cabinet positions abe has created. one is dedicated to drawing up legislation to allow japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense or the right to defend a closely related country under attack. the other is designed to help the government deal with the rapid population decline in rural areas. abe is trying to back up his words with action on the role of women in society. he says he wants women to occupy about 30% of senior positions by 2020. whatever the case, we will get the full picture soon.
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>> that was nhk world's mayuko ambe. many of the ministers make decisions that have big implications in the business world. ai uchida joins us from the business desk with more on that. >> thanks, catherine. abe has made it his mission to revive the economy and drag japan out of deflation. his efforts may be paying off. investors have driven up the nikkei index by more than 50% since he returned to the prime minister's office, and consumer prices have been rising for 14 months in a row, but abe has been confronting new challenges since he raised the consumption tax in april. he's seen consumer spending fall and economic growth slump. nhk world's kyoto fujita has more. >> reporter: government officials say the economy continues to recover at a moderate pace. but consumers are less optimistic. many people say they've been feeling the pinch.
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they've seen prices going up and up. people watched as the consumption tax was hiked from 5% to 8%, but they haven't enjoyed an increase in wages to match. so they're becoming more reluctant to spend. >> translator: food prices have gone up. it's hard on our budget. my growing kids eat a lot. >> translator: i don't think my salary will increase any time soon. >> reporter: prime minister abe is struggling to build new engines to drive growth. in june, he said he'd lower the corporate tax rate to below 30% in the next few years. company executives have complained for years that japan has one of the highest rates among developed nations. abe wants to give businesses a stronger hand in the global market and attract more foreign investors. >> translator: i'm committed to boosting the competitiveness of japanese companies and helping them survive in the global
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market. >> reporter: exporters hoped to benefit from the weaker yen, but instead they've been disappointed by their sales. government officials reported a current account deficit of $5 billion from january to june. company executives have been moving their manufacturing bases overseas to cope with global competition. abe is also aiming to give japan better access to foreign markets. he's determined to sign up to a free tried pact in the asia-pacific that would cover around 40% of global gdp. he hopes the transpacific partnership will help boost the country's export. the japanese delegates are still trying to iron out differences with their u.s. counterparts and ministers of the 12 negotiationing nations haven't met over the summer, experts say upcoming midterm elections in the u.s. could cause further
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delays. one analyst says some investors now believe that the implementation of abe's growth plan is too slow. >> last year foreign investors purchased japanese stock more than 15 euro/yen but this year they sold japanese stock about 2 billion yen and this shows the foreign expectations to abenomics is starting to fading out, fade out. >> reporter: abe faces another major challenge, he has to manage a country's debt that's expanded to a record level of around $9.6 trillion. the japanese government plans to raise the consumption tax to 10% next year. abe will decide by the end of the year whether he will carry on as planned. further tax increase may drag down personal consumption.
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even some in abe's own party have been voicing concerns, but an expert warns of a substantial risk, if abe puts fiscal consolidation at the bottom of his agenda. >> the administration is taking the risk of future long-term interest rate surge or losing, risk of losing the credibility of not only gdp but also the administration itself. >> reporter: prime minister abe is entering another phase of his leadership. he needs to juggle conflicting challenges and find a path to further economic growth. kyoko fujita, nhk world. >> even those who haven't served in cabinet before are well aware of the size of japan's debt. the ministers who are appointed will face the challenge of curbing spending as they compile the budget for next year.
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ministries and agencies nationwide requested a record amount for fiscal 2015. extra demands for boosting economic growth have pushed the total above 100 trillion yen for the first time, that's about $968 billion. finance ministry officials received about $38 billion in extra requests for projects that would push forward the prime minister's growth plan. much of that amount accounts for an increase of more than 4% in policy spending. requests for pension and medical expenditures grew by about $7.9 billion. that reflects the aging population, and more than $245 billion are needed to repay the country's ballooning debts. investors, too, will be waiting to see the line-up of abe's new cabinet. they will also be closely following the bank of japan's two-day policy meeting starting today. for more details and an update on how japanese markets are starting this morning, let's go to ramin mellegard.
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he's at the tokyo stock exchange. good morning, ramin. what can you tell us? >> good morning to you, ai. yes indeed the two key things you mentioned there, of course, abe's cabinet reshuffle and the boj meeting, those are going to be prime focuses but also the dollar/yen level, i'll come to that in a second. let's look at the opening levels for the nikkei and the topix. and both well into the positive in the first few minutes of trading, and we'll see if that progresses during the day. now the nikkei yesterday ended at its highest level in more than seven months. investors are also as i said they're going to be cheered by the weaker yen against the dollar, we'll come to that some of the levels in just a second. according to analysts we've been speaking to throughout this week, the reason for this weakening is some of the positive economic data coming out of the u.s., of course, and that has raised the prospect that the federal reserve in the u.s. will raise interest rates a little bit earlier than many had been expecting, and that sentiment has pushed u.s. government bond yields higher,
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we're looking at the ten-year treasury note there. the interest rate gap is widening between american and japanese government bonds, jg interaction currently around 0.5% thereabouts, making the dollar more attractive than the yen, and also analysts say many investors are expecting prime minister abe to speed up the pace of reform policies to boost growth and many in the markets will be watching very closely the cabinet reshuffle of course and some of the policies there, and the cabinet reshuffling, which may augment some of his policies going forward. now for investors, the biggest point of interest also is the government pension investment fund, and the plans there to increase their stock holdings rather than the low yielding japanese government bonds. that's going to be very interesting to watch. ai? >> ramin, you mentioned the dollar/yen earlier. where is the pair trading this morning in tokyo? >> having a look at the dollar/yen now and it's moved a
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little bit higher, 105 now, 105.17-22. we've seen the yen weaken even further for when stocks closed for trading here on tuesday. the pair back to levels last seen earlier this year, in fact, and the euro has dipped to one-year lows ahead of thursday's european central bank policy meeting, market players will be waiting to hear whether president mario draghi comes out with measures to reverse the slowing growth rate in the eurozone. investors around the world will also be watching out for the august payroll numbers due out on friday in the u.s. for further signs of any economic recovery or whether it's on track in the u.s. that's going to be a big focus as well but the nikkei and the topix well into the positive here so far. back to you. >> all right, ramin, thanks a lot for that update. ramin mellegard there from the tokyo stock exchange. and one last story before i go, japan's three major brewers have launched new beer-flavored alcoholic drinks for
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health-conscious consumers they contain almost no purine, a chemical compound that can cause gout. they began selling the drinks tuesday, they spent developing products aiming to cut the levels of purine and sugar while preserving the flavor. purine's top marketing executive takeucihi fusei visited the market to promote the new product. he said he's confident consumers will like it as it was developed using the latest tech nothing. sapporo began selling a beer flavored beverage in july. the country's major breweries reported falling beer shipments for nine years in a row. they hope to expand the market by attracting more health conscious consumers. more in business for you next hour. here's a check on markets.
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in other news making headlines today, militants with the group islamic state claimed they've executed another american hostage. the footage shows a man believed to be sotloff kneeling before sw unin a mask. last month it showed the execution of another american journalist james foley. the masked man seems to be the same person in both videos. he speaks with a british accent. he warns the group will continue killing hostages until u.s. president barack obama stops air strikes against militants in syria and iraq. then he beheads the hostage. sotloff was working as a freelance journalist. he was kidnapped in syria a year
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ago. his mother issued a video message last week asking the militants to free her son. >> the intelligence community will work as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity, if the video is genuine, we are sickened by this brutal act taking the life of another innocent american citizen. >> the militants have issued another threat. the end of the video shows another hostage believed to be british aide worker david hanes. the masked man warns governments to back off what he called this evil alliance of america against the islamic state. authorities in the philippines have arrested three men they believe were planning to carry out bomb attacks. they say the suspects wanted government leaders to take a tougher stance in territorial disputes with china. agents with the national bureau of investigation found the men in a van at manila's international airport, the van was filled with explosives. they say the men were planning
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to bomb the airport, the chinese embassy and a shopping mall owned by chinese-filipino businessmen. the agents say the suspects claim to be members of a right wing group. they say the men had a written statement saying the group opposes chinese moves that threaten the sovereignty of the philippines. they say the statement criticizes chinese actions in the territorial disputes and the government's handling of the issue. public health officials in tokyo are working hard to identify the source of an outbreak of dengue fever. they confirmed 12 more cases of the viris, virus, bringing the number of people infected to 36, and they have installed traps to catch the mosquitos that are making people sick. the officials are fighting the first outbreak of dengue fever in almost 70 years.making peopl. the officials are fighting the first outbreak of dengue fever in almost 70 years. everyone infected was in or near a park in central tokyo last month. the officials believe all of them were bitten by mosquitos. authorities are draining ponds in yoyugi park to prevent
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mosquitos from breeding and they have installed traps at ten locations. the traps that contain dry ice that emit carbon dioxide to catch the mosquitos. officials will collect a batch and take the samples to a laboratory for testing. time for a check of the weather. people in central china are dealing with relentless heavy rain. the deluge triggeredland slides and floods. mai shoji joins us with more. we have been seeing persistent rainfall, about 400 millimeters. in ten days across central china and it has led to deadly flooding andland slides. we have video from central locations here. at least 40 people are dead or missing in southwest china due to severe weather that struck the region on monday. over 30 mun mill 300 millimeters fell in less than 24 hours resulting in multipleland slides. 7,400 people have been told to evacuate. over 5,000 homes have been 7,40
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evacuate. over 5,000 homes have been damagedor destroyed due to flooding. rescue workers are continuing efforts. but it looks like the rain will be continuing, not the heavy rain. the good news is that the heavy rain is not going to be across the locations where the video came out from during the daytime, but again from the evening hours, another low will be setting in. so any further -- any additional rainfall could trigger further flooding and landslides across this location. we have a low pressure system that is developing over the philippines. maybe it may intensify and turn but we're not sure. we're sure it's bringing really nasty weather towards western japan as well as the korean peninsula. south korea has been seeing about 70 millimeters of rainfall, just this morning. additional amounts could top as much as 80 millimeters and numerous thunderstorms have been reported here, too. this is a potent system surging all the moisture and making for really nasty conditions. western japan again we're
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talking about more rainfall. 80 millimeters built up over kochi, shikoko and kyushu. we are seeing heavy rain warnings in places such as hiroshima where places like the deadlyland slides have occurred. further landslides could occur due to the system. the rest of japan is looking at a high pressure system. it's comfortable in tokyo at 29. clouds but mostly sunny day out here on wednesday. across the americas, we are looking at a couple of systems over towards mexico. this is a newly formed tropical storm called norbert. norbert will pull away from the western coast of mexico but making its way toward baja, california. you have tropical storm watches in places in places like cabo san lucas. about 100 millimeters of rainfall could be possible in this western coast of mexico. the east is still looking at this. we have been monitoring this. this is dolly.
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it's still a tropical storm status. looks like it will pull to maintain its strength. we have tropical storm warnings all the way in place in northern locations. this is a really heavy rainmaker, as much as 380 millimeters of rainfall in isolated locations, especially in and around the storm system. please do not venture out in the stormy conditions. it will continue today and into wednesday. the surge of that moisture from the other system is also slamming the western coast with really heavy rainfall, so really watch out if you are in this vicinity. a system has been moving out, now finally pull out, but it has brought severe weather across the eastern seaboard. i want to mention about the temperature soaring in the 30s again in new york and washington, d.c. in fact, we have 33 in new york, which was the hottest day of this year so far. i'll leave you now for the extended forecast.
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and that wraps up this edition of "newsline." i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. thanks for joining us.
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>> hello and welcome to "global 3000," your weekly check on global developments that affect us all. and today i'd like to start by asking you something -- what information do we really need to find our way around our ever more complex world? we meet a young geographer who has literally re-defined how we should be looking at our planet. and here's what we have coming up. looks odd but makes perfect sense -- the maps that tell the truth about our world. dangerous superstition -- we meet women in ghana who stand accused of witchcraft. and rising sea levels -- how grenada is battling to save its freshwater resources.

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